The Collaborative will do this by building relationships between members and providing a safe space to experiment with the role they play in identifying, enabling, growing and disseminating innovative solutions to complex social issues.
The Nesta programme team will facilitate the Collaborative by hosting events, gathering and publishing insight and creating tools that advance and promote the Collaborative’s shared goals. We will also offer resources, including a small experimentation fund, to help Collaborative members make progress against their goals.
By the end of the one year pilot phase the members will have connected and learned from each other about the common needs, challenges and opportunities facing Local Government in adopting new operating models - and how to address them. This will form an evidence base from which to make informed decisions about the future direction for the Collaborative and how the most impactful new operating models might be supported and financed to develop and sustain.
We are looking to recruit senior local government officers who have a role in delivering strategic change in public services. We aim to have balanced geographic and political representation, but we will go where the energy and ideas are. Our target is to recruit 2-3 representatives from up to twenty local authorities who are working on relevant initiatives.
The Collaborative aims to help local authorities to develop and adopt new operating models by thinking, doing and learning together. Collectively, we aim to:
- build awareness of emerging options for new operating models, particularly those that function upstream to affect the underlying causes of need
- build evidence of how they work in practice in different geographies and service areas
- understand what is required culturally, organisationally and financially to put them into practice
- explore the different roles that local authorities can play in their communities to be effective agents of wider system change.
We want to hear from Local Authorities who are experimenting in areas that include but are not limited to the following:
- Redefining the purpose and role of a local authority
- How to re-imagine the relationship between citizen and council.
- How and when to shift the council’s role to, for example, convenor, matchmaker, incentiviser, etc.
- How to lead within an ecosystem of statutory and non-statutory partners, including citizens and communities.
- How to enable an ecosystem of innovators.
- Economic democracy
- How to grow alternative models of economic governance which give citizens greater investment in and control over their economic future.
- How to help people assume ownership of common assets and decision-making processes.
- Radical restructuring
- How to devolve power through changing organisational structures and culture.
- How to reshape the system to centre on the needs of the service user.
- Devolution of power to communities
- How to mobilise communities in the cause of prevention.
- How to enable citizens to shape policy and services.
If you are working on something that does not quite fit with these categories please contact us to discuss your idea further.
This programme takes place in the context of long-term reductions in local government funding which, coupled with ever more complex and rising demand, make radical change a necessity.
However, local authorities are unable to switch over from old ways of working without there being proven alternatives to adopt. There is a high demand for new ideas and insight into the practicalities of shifting to new operating models.
Alternative models are starting to emerge, spanning a wide range of approaches - Preston City Council are democratising their local economy through community wealth building initiatives, Barnsley Council are working with citizens to reinvent service provision, Plymouth City Council’s approach to social enterprises has lead to the formation of a community owned energy company, in Wigan they’re radically re-imagining the relationship between citizen and state. The more we look, the more examples we find.
But the really interesting and potentially game-changing ideas all tend to be working upstream of service delivery to focus instead on addressing the underlying problems that cause needs to arise or to reach crisis point.
We have identified some common characteristics within these emergent models - for example, the different roles being played by the Council, the role distributed ownership models can play within the ecosystem, and changes in the way power is held or people are organised.
However, there is a lack of:
- a coherent overall theory for understanding how and when to apply new operating models and how specific to place the models are;
- accessible evidence of the impact of these new models on the prevention of need;
- an understanding of what policy and organisational conditions are needed for new models to work;
- an environment in which experiments can be run and lessons shared across the sector.
The Upstream Collaborative will create and disseminate new knowledge about what works, informing practice and policy to help reshape the system by which social needs are met.
- Deadline for registering your interest: 12pm on Monday 15 July. Share details of your team and initiative via the online form
- Telephone interviews with shortlisted councils: Monday 22 July - Friday 26 July 2019
- Confirm network members by Monday 19 August
First Upstream Collaborative residential: October 2019
Register your interest by 12pm on Monday 15 July